I've had a couple emails about a security threat that was posted on the US Embassy Webpage for Lima, Peru. It's kind of a funny thing to read, check it out here. I got a special chuckle about the Embassy's encouragement for all travelers to register for the STEP program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program), so that they can "watch out for you" and do a bunch of other things entirely to your benefit, none of which are spying on you.
I'm sorry if I sound a little cynical, but I really haven't had the best of luck with the US Embassy in Lima. I've known a couple of the people who worked there, and they were nice people...but I never interacted with them on the few occasions when I had to go to the Embassy. Sure, I'm glad it's there, and if I ever got into trouble, I'm sure I'd be very thankful if they came to help me out. But up until now, the Embassy has been more of a cause of stress for me than a help.
As for this kidnapping threat, I think you have to put things in perspective. The note says that travel to Cusco by Embassy Personnel has been prohibited. However, Embassy personnel are also prohibited from riding in combis or Ticos. I think that indicates that the Embassy is "mother hen" cautious.
Peru itself denies that there is any danger, and honestly, I would have zero qualms about buying a ticket to Cusco and traveling there today. However, if you should go to Cusco, it's your decision, so don't come blaming me if something happens. Also, when traveling abroad, you should always do what you can not to draw attention to yourself (somebody's going to steal your iphone because it represents a year's wages to them). You'd think this would go without saying...but that's not the case.
I'm curious to hear what my regular readers think about this issue. Are any of you concerned with traveling to Cusco in light of the Embassy's warning, or do you think it's overblown nonsense?
In lighter news, the American Birkebeiner is coming up this weekend. I'm a little concerned because yesterday I had some chicken wings and I feel a little washed up today...like food poisoning washed up. The idiot waitress gave me "boneless" even though I specifically asked for "wings with bones." What's everyone's thoughts for tips when the waitress gets the order wrong? I gave about 15%. Would anyone have gone to zero? This is a can of worms I know...but seriously I was ultra clear about what I wanted and it was a matter of a person not paying attention. You'd be mad if you told your doctor your arm hurt and he amputated your leg now wouldn't you?
Well, I probably wouldn't be so angry except that the wings made me sick. The good news is that I've received two great reviews for "Beyond Birkie Fever" recently. You can check them out here and here, please visit their sites and leave a comment, or share the articles on twitter, facebook, etc.. These are more than just quick blurbs, they're really insightful treatments of the work and I'm grateful to the authors!
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